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At the Rink blog

Mike Richards adjusting to life on the wing

Monday, 01.02.2012 / 3:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Mike Richards adjusting to life on the wing
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- One the main benefits of acquiring Mike Richards for the Los Angeles Kings was that it would make them one of the deepest teams in the NHL down the middle.

L.A. can boast Richards, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll centering its top three lines.

But it has veered from that script.

Not only is Richards no longer playing center, he's paired with Kopitar on the top line with Dustin Brown. Coach Darryl Sutter put Richards at left wing last Saturday and is expected to stick with it for Monday's game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Richards played wing during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The only drawback is that L.A. doesn't get to use Richards as much on faceoffs.

"The biggest thing for adjustment is being at the right place on the ice," Richards said. "Right from the beginning I was over-thinking things, and when you do that you're a second late. But as the game went on, I felt more comfortable up there. I wasn't (over) thinking, I was just reacting."

Richards said playing wing wasn't broached upon his trade to L.A.

"To me, it doesn't matter where I play," he said. "Obviously I'm comfortable at center, but … it just takes a little bit to get your positioning on the ice. A couple of plays happened in (Saturday's) game where it was a lot different with the board battles, but you get used it after a period, two periods max."

Voynov out: Defenseman Slava Voynov will miss tonight's game after he got "banged up" in each of the previous two games, Sutter said.

Alec Martinez is expected to take his place. Martinez has been a scratch in all six games under Sutter.

Gagne (non) update:
Simon Gagne might see a doctor on Monday night, Sutter said, but there is otherwise not update.

Sutter confirmed for the first time Monday that Gagne has a concussion. Monday marked one week since Gagne suffered the injury, against Phoenix.

"He's got a concussion," Sutter said. "There's progress. It's not really a daily thing."

Los Angeles is prepared for Gagne to be out for an extended period. Gagne is believed to have suffered three concussions in a five-month span in the 2007-08 season.

"Players like Gagne who have had an issue with it, it becomes even more of an issue," Sutter said. "There's no way of telling. I really do think one of the worst things you can do is keep asking about it. It's a negative. A lot of it is just feeling better about yourself, and then you feel better."

Richards-Gretzky connection: Richards had an indirect tie to the Kings as a kid because his mother, Irene, was a big Wayne Gretzky fan during the Gretzky era in L.A.

"When he broke (one of Gordie Howe's records), she actually woke me up, and my brothers, and we got up and actually watched the rest of the game," Richards said.
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie